Bucky Pizzarelli / West Texas Tumbleweeds

Back in the Saddle Again: Arbors Country Series, Vol. 2

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The success of Bucky Pizzarelli's earlier sessions blending jazz and country musicians interpreting country favorites prompted follow-up record dates with many of the same players taking part. The veteran guitarist brings sons John (guitar and vocals) and Martin (bass), vocalist Rebecca Kilgore, young violinist Aaron Weinstein, pianist Monty Alexander, and drummer Tony Tedesco, along with country artists Andy Levas (guitar and vocals) and pedal steel guitarist Tommy White. Like the earlier CD, "Buck" and the band do justice to these country standards, including both vocal and instrumental numbers. Levas' strong lead vocals on Johnny Cash hits like "Hey, Porter," "Folsom Prison Blues," and "Understand Your Man" are obvious highlights, with the band providing terrific support. Kilgore has long sung both jazz and country, having recorded several CDs of her own with a country flavor; her warm, loping rendition of "Along the Navaho Trail," with tasty solos by the leader, Alexander, and Weinstein, is a highlight. The swinging rendition of "Red River Valley" showcases the leader on acoustic bass guitar, Weinstein, John Pizzarelli (on electric guitar), and Alexander. The surprising conclusion is a solo feature for Alexander, singing as he accompanies himself in a delightful, imaginative setting of "Happy Trails." Western swing is alive and well in the hands of Bucky Pizzarelli and friends.

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